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Photon 2005 / PLC 2005
6.9.2005, Kazimierz, Poland
100 years of photon
38 years of Gamma Ray Bursts
and perspectives for future
GRB’s are the most powerfull
sources of photons in the Universe
from radio waves to TeV
Grzegorz Wrochna
Soltan Institute for Nuclear Studies, Warsaw / Świerk
1963 – Treaty banning nuclear
weapon tests in space
Military satellites VELA launched
• equipped with g-ray detectors
• orbit R=100 000 km, period=4.5 days
• could detect nuclear explosion
at the other side of the Moon
1958 – USA plan nuclear tests
at the other side of the Moon
(uncovered in 2000)
2.6.1967 – VELA register g burst
• Ray Klebesadel & Roy Olson from Los Alamos National Laboratory
compare printouts from VELA 4A i 4B
• They find a burst seen by both satellites
USSR broken the treaty?
• Pulse shape different from nuclear one
no information about direction and distance
1969 – Launch of VELA 5 i 6
• time resolution 1/64 s
• direction (~5°) & distance estimate
1969-73 – 16 g bursts
1973 – publication
• distance > 1 mln km
• directions exclude Sun and planets
• distribution ~isotropic
• journalists suspect nuclear war between E.T.’s
• astronomers got excited
The first hypothesis
1974 – Ruderman’s review quotes dozens of theories
Solar System, Galaxy, Universe?
main sequence stars, white drawfs, black holes,
neutron stars, planets, comets, dust grains,
white holes, cosmic strings, wormholes, etc.
energy: grawitational, thermonuclear, magnetic,
kinetic (rotational)
Comet falling on neutron stars
Diversity of pulse shapes well explained by
diversity of shapes and sizes of comets.
Neutron stars are inside galactic disk.
How to get isotropic distribution?
Possible, if we see only nearby neutron stars.
Having the number of neutron stars
(from pulsar observations and supernovae)
and the numer of comets (from the Solar System)
one can calculate frequency of GRB.
Assuming typical comet and netron star sizes one
can calculate released energy.
Comparing to the observed energy one can
estimate the distance: 10-1000 l.y.
10 l.y. ~ distance to closest neutron stars
1000 l.y. ~ thickness of the galactic disk
Inter-Planetary Network (IPN)
1978 – several spacecrafts far from the Earth
equipped with gamma detectors
• Prognoz 7 (USSR) – satellite of the Earth
• Helios 2 (Germany) – satellite of the Sun
• Pioneer Venus Orbiter (USA)
• Wenera 11 i 12 (USSR) – mission to Venus
• Kosmos (USSR) – satellite of the Earth
• Vela 5 i 6 (USA) – distant orbits
around the Earth
K.Hurley – Berkeley
Burst in the Large Magellanic Cloud
5.3.1979 – exceptionaly strong burst detected by IPN
followed by damped oscillations with 8 s period
Direction from Large Magellanic Cloud
(nearby galaxy, 160 000 l.y. from Earth)
Position coincides with supernowa remnant
Gigantic energy exludes hypothesis of comet
Position at SN remnant and 8 s oscillations
suggests a neutron star (pulsar)
Hypothesis of gigantic magnetic storm at neutron star
with huge magnetic field explains well the observed burst
Spectral lines
Spectrum of GRB 79 03 05 has peaks ~800 i 400 keV
in agreement with anihilation e+e- → 1 or 2 g
(1022 or 511 keV minus energy to escape neutron star)
1979-81 – dozens of g burst spectra registered by
Japan. sat. Ginga and Russion group of Evgeni Mazets
exhibit „hollows” (absorbsion lines) ~30-60 keV
Interpreted as cyclotron frequencies of electrons
in magnetic fields of neutron stars.
Obtained values ~3.1012 gauss, typical for neutron stars
Argument for galactic origin of GRB, because larger
distances wold imply much higher fields.
Archive optical observations
1981 – Bradley Schaefer (MIT) egzamined old sky images
• he found an optical flash on 1928.11.17
in the place of GRB 1978.11.19
1984 – another search
• GRB 1979.11.05 = optical flash in 1901
• GRB 1979.01.13 = optical flash in 1944
 average frequency of flashes of an object = 1.1/year
 it must live >50 years  >50 explosions
 explosions not fatal  energies not too high
 yet another confirmation of short distances
Compactness problem
Short burst duration (0.01-100s) suggests compact source
(~1000 km) – light must go through the source
High luminosity and large distance imply high energy
Compact source implies high energy density
 photons interact and produce e+e- pairs
 spectrum should not contain g with E>511keV
Such photons are observed  sources are close to us
False trail – two loopholes in the arguments:
• if the object expands, only part of it could be seen
• photons able to produce e+e- must have higher energy
(Lorentz boost)
Conclusion: bursts might be distant, if g‘s are created
at the wave front of fast moving wave
Distance and intensity distributions
Assuming izotropic distribution of sources,
the number of sources N inside a sphere with radius R:
N ~ R3
Observed intensity L ~ 1/R2
Hence, the number of observed sources
(L>L0, where L0 – apparatus sensitivity)
N ~ L0–3/2
1982 – data shows deviation from L0–3/2 formula:
deficit of weak bursts
• contradiction with galactic origin
• argument for cosmological distances
 perhaps less bursts in early Universe
Status in 1990
>95% astronomers: galactic origin
Ed Fenimore, Martin Rees, Donald Lamb, ...
• GRB in Magellanic Cloud in place of old SN
• spectral lines
• small energy enough to explain
• optical flashes found at old photo-plates
• compactness problem (g >1MeV  e+e-)
<5% astronomers: extragalactic origin
Bohdan Paczyński, ...
• deficit of weak bursts
• izotropic distribtion
Today we know that all the arguments
were irrelevant or false ...
False trails
• Isotropic distribution
possible if GRB’s are in the galactic halo
• Spectral lines
probably deconvolution effect (inversion of matrix
with elements having large errors)
measured puls = g energy  detector response
• Repeatable optical flashes
1989 – reanalysis of the images by Anna Żytkow:
„we should treat with great causion the suggestion, that
the GRB are necessarily accompanied by optical flashes”
• Deficit of weak bursts
detectors sensitive to maximum, not to total energy
 missing detection of long but low pulses
• Burts in Magellanic Cloud 1979.03.05 at SN remnant
turned out to belong to a different class of g bursts
called Soft Gamma Repeaters (SGR)
(Attention! SN’s strike back 1998.04.25
SGR’s strike back 2004.12.27)
Soft Gamma Repeaters (SGR)
1986 – g burst observed in place of the GRB 1979.01.07
• >100 bursts of this object found in old data in 1979-84
• most of them in 1983.11, some in groups, some single
Soon, more SGR discovered
• all in our Galaxy
• all at SN remnants ~10 000 years old
• X-ray oscillations found with ~8s period
Puzzle solved in 1998
• in 3 years, the period of SGR 1806-20 decreases by 0.008s
• reason – magnetic field calculated to be 1011 T !
• magnetar – neutron star withmagnetic field of ~1011 T
• fast rotation cause flattening and strong radiation
• energy loss slows down rotation
and the star becomes more spherical
• shell breaking – „star quakes” cause gigantic magnetic
storms observed as gamma burts
The Great Debate bis
1920.04.26 – The Great Debate
about distances in the Universe
What are nebulas?
Galaxies or objects in our Galaxy?
Harlow Shapley – Heber Curtis
1995.04.22 – The Great Debate 2
GRB are in our Galaxy
or in distant Universe?
Don Lamb – Bohdan Paczyński
Lead by: Martin Rees
Burst And Transient Source Experiment
1973 – Gerald Fishman heard the talk on VELA
results and started to work on new g detectors
1975 – 2 baloon flights of 12h: only solar g
1980, 82 – flights 19+48h: 1 GRB / 40 expected
1978 – BATSE planned for GRO satellite in 1985
1991 – in orbit!
 cost 12M$
 + 400 manyear
 18 years preparation
 6 years delay
Designed to record data on tape
and transmit while flying over USA
In 1992, tape recorders broken
NASA built telemetric stations
in Africa and Australia
Thanks to direct transmision
ground based telescopes could
immediately follow the bursts
• discovered ~1 GRB daily
• GRB position: 4-10°
• ~3000 GRB observed
2000 – GRO was burned (for political reasons?) in spite of
perfect state of the apparatus and against scientists 
Izotropic distribution in galactic coordinates
„Short” and „long” bursts
Italian-Dutch satellite launched in 1996
• wide field (40°) X-ray camera
• precise (resolution 3’) X-ray camera
• g-ray monitor
• 1980 – project begins
• 1986 – planned launch
• 1996 – in orbit!
• 10 years delay
• planned cost 28 M$
• actual cost:
• 200 M$ satellite
• 150 M$ launch
+ telemetric stations
Run for the flash
1996.04.30 – BeppoSax in orbit
1996.07.20 – the first GRB seen in X-rays
1996 ... – many GRB, nothing in X (camera = 2% sky)
1997.01.11 – GRB + X-ray source
VLA radiotelescope: fading radio souce
KECK telescope (10 m): galaxy
articles submitted to Nature
just before printing, the results turned out to be false
1997.02.28 – strong GRB + X
Dutch team discovers optical afterglow
7 weeks later the paper published in Nature
Italian paper on GRB+X published 2 months later,
because the English required a lot of corrections
First afterglows
1997.02.28 – GRB observed in X-rays
21 h later – optical observation
William Herschel Telescope, 4.2m, La Palma
GRB Coordinate Network (GCN)
up to z=4.5
 13·109 light years
could be used
to probe Universe
farther than SN
GRB’s projected on galactic plane
visible Universe radius ≈14G light years
Supernowa SN1998bw
1998.04.25 – GRB discovered by BeppoSAX
• very bright afterglow – 14m
(all so far >20m)
• SN-like spectrum
• max. after 2 weeks
Several GRB-SN pairs
found so far
GRB spectrum
GRB 980329
self absorption
synchrotron absorption
GRB 940212
Central engines
Collapsar (hypernova)
big, rotating star
collapsing to
neutron star and/or
black hole
(long bursts?)
Coalescence (merger)
of two neutron stars
or NS and BH
(short burts?)
ngine  energy transport  conversion to grays  afterglow
Internal Shocks
Magnetic instability
External Shock
Mechanizm błysków gamma
Rejected proposals
1974 – Paul Boynton proposed to search for GRB optical
couterparts with vidicon
NSF: „failed to show that they would, in fact,
observe anything”
1983 – MIT: Explosive Transient Camera
(16 cameras = 43% sky, d=25mm)
Raipdly Moving Telescope, d=180mm
rejected by NFS, descoped version in 1991
software not able to deal with huge background
1993 – Scott Barthelmy (NASA) creates
BAtse COorDInate NEtwork
and proposes project GTOTE – rejected by NASA
~1989 – Lawrence Livermore NL works on camera
for „Star Wars” defence system. Project terminated.
Salomon judgement ?
• 1992 – Carl Akerlof, particle physicist
(e.g. MACHO) goes to LLNL
• Someone told him about „Star Wars” camera
• The camera became the GROCSE detector
nothing interesting has been observed
• 1994-95 – propozal GROCSE-II rejected by NFS 4x
• 1996 – conflict in the team
camera divided between two groups
• Livermore group builds LOTIS
• Los Alamos group builds ROTSE
• 1999.01.23 – BATSE sends GRB alert
• clouds over Livermore
• clear skies over Los Alamos ...
4 telephoto lenses
CANON d=10 cm
robotic mount
follows GCN alerts
Images 1999.01.23
20 s after BATSE alert
Optical flash 9m !
could be seen by binocular!
The brightest so far
1983 – project begins
1994 – planned launch
HETE satellites
Pegasus XL rocket has 2
crushes out of 5 launches
cost 14.5M$, 17 years work
6 years delay
HETE launched, but
trapped inside the
rocket & destroyed 
Launch of HETE-2
field of view 50°×50°
Sweat, blood and tears ...
VELA satellites observed nothing over 4 years
New satellites & 6 year work resulted in 16 GRB
Pre-BATSE after 7 years: 1 GRB instead of 40
BATSE: 18 years preparation, 6 years delay
BeppoSAX: 16 years preparation, 10 years delay
The first optical afterglow: 1 year after launch
Optical observations: 15 years of rejecting grants
ETC+RMT: nothing, GROCSE: nothing, ...
ROTSE: 10 years work, 1 flash 20s after GRB990123
HETE: 17 years preparation, 6 years delay
rocket crushes, first satellite destroyed
GRB 030329 = SN 2003 dh
Triggered by HETE
1 h 16 min after GRB: 13m
1 h 15 min after GRB: 13m
Riken, d = 25 cm
Kyoto, d = 30 cm
If in M31 (Andromeda)
 brighter than the Moon
If in M42 (Orion nebula)
 brighter than the Sun!
Egamma > 104x Evisible
GRB releases
>1051 erg = 1044J
in 0.1-100s
The same will be released
by the Sun oven its all life
(1010 years)
Optical observations
1 min. – 10 cm photolenses
1 h – 30 cm amateur telescope
1 day – 1 m professional telescope
1 week – 6 m giant telescope
1 month – Hubble telescope
Gamma Ray Bursts - GRB
(0.01-100s) g–ray pulses
 From pointlike sources in the sky
 Brighter than the rest of the sky (in g-rays)
 Energy 1051 erg (=1010 years of Sun emission)
 Distance up to z=4.5 (13·109 light years)
 Frequency 2-3 per day
 So far >3000 observed
including ~100 in visible light
distance measured for ~70
 Short
 Observed
in radio waves, X-rays, g ~GeV,TeV
GRB’s today and tomorrow
 gamma emission well understood
 central engine(s) still uncertain
 coincidence with TeV photons, neutrinos, etc
 optical observations before and during GRB
Launched Nov. 2004
3 instruments:
• BAT – g-ray detector: 2 steradians
• XRT – X-ray detector: resolution 4’
• UVOT – optical+UV telescope
Swift satellite
Short GRB puzzle
So far, no optical counterpart of short (<1s) GRB
has been found
2005.05.09 – GRB 050909B lasting 30ms
X-ray afterglow found
Possible host galaxy identified
Roumors in newspapers
The afterglow itself – not seen
Short GRB’s remain unvisible
Soft Gamma Repeater 1806-20
Gigantic outburst of SGR 1806
New hypothesis: short GRB are superbursts of distant SGR?
(weaker bursts are to faint to be observed)
GeV photons from GRB’s
GRB Max g energy Emission time
910503 10 GeV
84 s
910601 0.3 GeV
200 s
930131 1.2 GeV
100 s
940217 18 GeV
1.5 h
940301 0.2 GeV
30 s
Cosmic spark chamber EGRET
GRB 940217
Ulysses/BATSE observed GRB (25-150 keV) 180 s long
EGRET observed 18 photons (>40 MeV) over 1.5 h !
3 of them had energy > 2 GeV
Why hard photons are late?
Different production mechanism?
Different speed?!
quantum gravity effects (J.Ellis et al., Nature 393, p.763)
extra spacial dimensions (K.S.Cheng, T.Harko, astro-ph/0407416)
Anisotrophy of very short (<0.1s) GRB?
Cline, Matthey,
V. short GRB / CMB correlation?!
Colour map – CMB (WMAP) / GeV g (EGRET) correlations
Wibig, Wolfendale, 2005
Sakamoto et al., 2003
Isotropic energy [erg]
Isotropic luminosity [1051erg/s]
E peak [keV]
GRB as standard candels
Reichart et al., 2001
Hardness [ch1-ch3]
Cepheides-like correlations might allow us to study
the Universe much farther than Supernovae
TeV photons from GRB
number of photons
GRB 970417a
position [degrees]
18 photons > 650 GeV during 8 s
Models proposed with GRB
as cosmic ray sources.
E.g. astro-ph/0310667
curves: 1. galactic, 2. extragalactic
Swift GRB 2004.12.19
Precursor seen also in GRB 2005.01.24 and some others
B.Paczyński and P.Haensel (astro-ph/0502297)
interpret prekursor as a collaps to a neutron star
and the main burst as creation of a quark star
Optical observation before GRB!
40 cm
13.7m extinction corr.
B. Paczyński
„Optical Flashes Preceding GRBs”, astro-ph/0108522
Prompt optical
Crucial to understand
GRB central engine
Begins before, during
or after GRB?
• 3 observed cases
• 3 different answers
GRB 050820
optical peak 7 min. after GRB
More observations
very much needed!
General Rule for Bursts
H – arbitrary hypothesis about GRB
G1, G2 – gamma ray burts
 
G1H, G2 ~H
 optical emission begins before / after GRB
 GRB out of / in the Galaxy (SGR / „normal” GRB)
 GRB with / without Supernova
 GRB = single, double, multi-pulses
 GRB with / without precursor
Catching prompt optical emission
No one knows were the next GRB will happen
Two approaches:
 wait for GRB alert and move there quickly
robotic telescopes listening to GCN:
 look
robotic telescopes with self-triggering
watching ~all sky continuously:
„p of the Sky” – p steradians field of view,
2×16 cameras, 32×3000 images/night, 1 TB/night
„p of the Sky” prototype
• 2 CCD cameras 2000×2000 pixels
• common field of view 33°×33°
• 32 cameras under construction
Las Campanas Observatory, Chile, from 7.2004
Tests in Poland
• robotic mount
• < 1 min. to any point
in the sky
Search for cosmic flashes
„p of the Sky” prototype at LCO, July 2004 – July 2005
no GRB optical counterpart observed so far
limits 11-12m for 2 GRB before and during g burst
several limits ~minutes after GRB
several flashes
neither confirmed
nor excluded
by others
1 flash identified
as CN Leo flare
star outburst
100× brighter
in <1s,
faded in 5 min
„p of the Sky” general goal:
study objects varying on scales from seconds to months
Examples of night-life of stars - brightness vs time (one night)
„p of the Sky” and education
The team:
• 0.5+0.5+0.2 senior physicists
• 0.7 postdoc
• many students
The project made by students & for students:
• they design hardware, write software, take shifts
and analyse the data
• they are responsible for achievements & failures
• they write papers and go to conferences
How to get good students?
• see → education
Bringing science to schools
Less and less students choose to study physics
It is difficult to present modern science in school
Rapid technological developement increases the gap
between front-line science and school education
Let us use modern technology to our advantage!
e.g. CCD sensors which made revolution in astronomy
are now available in daily use devices
We propose to build digital school observatory
for 120 €
Webcam + telescope
Webcam long exposures (~20s)
10s exposure at midnight
Image processing
dark frame
dark frame subtracted
50 images
+ unsharp mask
Webcam + photo lenses f=50mm
VW Cep
Hands on Universe - Europe
EU grant ~800 k€
Polish section ~30 k€
lead by Lech Mankiewicz (Center for Theoretical Physics, Warsaw)
160 digital school observatories
Philips ToU Cam PCVC 840K webcam (~80 €)
Long exposures modification (~25 €)
Zenith lenses f=50mm (~10 €)
Mechanical adapter (~10 €)
Software (custom written) + courses for teachers
You are welcome to join: → education